Director Kevin Reynolds (WATERWORLD) delivers a memorable, good-looking version of the enduring Celtic legend, which has remained a quintessential love story throughout centuries of retelling.
Ridley Scott makes his presence felt as executive producer, with the story unfolding on an epic scale set in medieval England. The English live under the iron rule of the Irish, and the young Tristan's parents are working to unite the tribes of England against their oppressors.
When they are murdered by Irish infiltrators, Tristan is rescued by Lord Marke (Rufus Sewell, HELEN OF TROY), in whose kingdom he is raised as a son.
Tristan (James Franco, SPIDER-MAN 2) grows up to be a valiant warrior and noble knight, and when he is felled in battle he is given a king's memorial, sent to sea in a boat that washes up on Irish shores.
There, Tristan is revived and healed in secret by the beautiful Princess, Isolde (Sophia Myles), who at the insistence of her handmaiden doesn't tell Tristan her real name.
The two beautiful young people inevitably fall in love, but their passion is cut short when Tristan is forced to flee home to England.
Tristan eventually returns to Ireland to compete on Marke's behalf in a tournament for the Princess's hand in marriage, and only when he wins does he realize his error when he learns the Princess's true identity.
Thus Isolde returns as Marke's bride, and, unable to deny their passion, the lovers take up a treacherous affair behind Marke's back.
As Marke's enemies begin to suspect, they devise a plan to use Tristan's betrayal to break up the tenuous alliance between the English tribes.